Iowa Senator Joni Ernst is introducing legislation establish a competitive bidding process to allows states, cities, and towns across the country to compete to be the new home for several federal agencies.
The Republican from Red Oak calls it the Strategic Withdrawal of Agencies for Meaningful Placement or SWAMP) Act. The Swamp Act seeks to get the federal government outside of the Washington Beltway, so these federal agencies can see and hear first hand the impact their policies have on the folks who know their states, businesses and needs the best,” according to Ernst. Ernst says many of bureaucrats in federal government have no connection to the people they are supposed to be serving.
“Just for example — the United States Department of Agriculture has a very large footprint here in Washington, D.C. But I don’t know of many farmers and ranchers who are actively engage in the process here in Washington, D.C.,” Ernst says. The SWAMP Act would exempt the Executive Office of the President, the Department of Defense, and all other national security-related agencies that must be in close proximity to Congress and the White House. Ernst says moving the offices would save money in expenses — and uses Iowa as an example.
“Office space costs about $59.40 per square foot of office space here in Washington, D.C.,” Ernst says. “In Des Moines, office leases are right around or approximately $18.30 a square foot.” Ernst says there is available office federal office space available in Des Moines and other areas of the state.
Ernst says there would be a cost to moving federal offices from the nation’s capital to other areas of the country.”We do need to study that, I would agree that there would be costs associated with moving agencies out into the states. But hopefully it would be more of a one-time move,” Ernst says. She says the moves would provide the states to bring in new federal jobs. And she says the move would save the federal government money in worker salaries.
“Because D.C. is one of the most expensive places for people to live and work — locating to low-cost places like Iowa also brings those salaries down,” Ernst says. The Senate bills is a companion to one in the U.S. House which was introduced by Indiana Congressman Luke Messer.